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Scary letter from hmrc regarding tax credits

(26 Posts)
Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 07:36:20

Hi there all I'm new to this.. Just need some advice and if anybody else has been in this situation. I'll try not to go on too long.
Basically I married back in 2005 after being with my ex for 15 years. I have 3 children by this man. Anyway after him committing adultury many times I reverted back to my maiden name within a year. I stayed with him because of the children. Anyway in 2011 I couldn't take any more and in 2012 we seperated. In July 2012 I claimed working tax credits under my maiden name. Everyone knows me under my maiden name as don't use my married name. Anyway I received a letter from hmrc 2 weeks ago as they have links that a man is living with me. The letter is asking for bills etc which is absolutely fine as I pay all the bills which come direct debit out of my bank account. The only bill my ex pays is the mortgage which the house is on joint names. My ex still has post coming to my address. I have asked him to change all his mail but don't think he will cooperate as has no fixed address. I am soo worried about this as been reading lots of horrible stories with others getting these letters as I have nothing to prove where my ex is living. I have now got all my bills.. Bank statements and council tax which they have requested. Oh I did take ex off the electoral register in 2012.. Anybody else had this letter..

innkeeper Sun 12-Feb-17 07:58:56

Does he ever stay over?

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 08:06:36

No never.. To be honest I hate the sight of the man and so do my older daughters. He comes to take my son out for a few hours on a Saturday. I know he comes into the house while I am not here as still has a key. I have asked him back for the key many times but says it's his house too. That's something I will need to look into soon. But just want to sort tax credits out first as so scared they will stop the payments. I work 26 hours a week and if they stop the payments think I will have to look for another job to cover all the bills.. Then I would miss out collecting my son from school everyday.. Omg I'm at my wits end here...

innkeeper Sun 12-Feb-17 08:21:12

If he is still in the mortgage and enters the house when you aren't there it will be hard for you to prove you sent sharing finances. I think you ars right in saying you need to sort that asap. How does he support himself? Does he pay council tax anywhere?

DianaT1969 Sun 12-Feb-17 08:21:54

I don't have any personal experience, but It sounds like it will be hard to prove that he hasn't been living there - if he doesn't rent or pay bills elsewhere. To reduce your stress you could get legal advice if you can afford to. The alternative is to wait it out and see if they
a) stop the payments
b) take measures to reclaim previous payments
Regarding the key, you could have changed the lock and perhaps not too late? If HMRC have photos of him entering the house with his own key it doesn't look like he's a vistor.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 12-Feb-17 08:23:19

Is the letter from concentrix?

lougle Sun 12-Feb-17 08:31:04

I actually think you'll be ok on this one. Legally, the house is his too. You can't stop him entering. You can still claim tax credits as a single person even if you are still living in the same house as long as you can prove that you are living as separate households (it's in the decision makers' manual) because there are circumstances where people just can't move to alternative accommodation. In those circumstances, they would look at whether you were conducting yourselves as a couple or as single persons. In your situation, you conduct yourself as a single person. You just have the unfortunate financial link through the mortgage and the tie through your son. You can't stop contact with your DS and you can't stop access to the house. But he doesn't contribute to your household in any other way, and the only contact you have is regarding your DS. You have asked him to stop having mail delivered, but can't compel him to do so.

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 08:45:02

The letter is from hmrc.. I know he stays at his mums some nights and with a girl he had an affair with back in 2011. No he doesn't pay any bills elsewhere. To be honest he doesn't earn much money but as long as he continues to pay the mortgage I don't particularly care. I did go and see a solicitor about 2 years ago as got a free 30 minutes advice. But divorce costs was soo high and couldn't get any help towards the cost so didn't take anything further. so wish I did now as this would of all been sorted now.. Since I've received this letter I've been worried sick. I now there are people out there that commit fraud but I am being totally honest here but seems hmrc are doing this lots to innocent single parents..

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 08:49:40

Forgot to add that ex doesn't contribute to any other bills other than the mortgage and we don't have any joint bank accounts. I went into my bank yesterday and printed statements off from October until now showing that I pay all the bills.. Except mortgage..the other thing I'm bit worried about is everything is under my maiden name.. Tax credits.. Bank account.. Work and all bills as I don't use married name and never will. Everybody knows me as my maiden name.. Even my sons school..

youarenotkiddingme Sun 12-Feb-17 08:56:56

Concentrix work on behalf of the hmrc.
But they ask these details off a large number of single working parents - all bills etc and the letter usually states they've reason to believe another adult lives there.

Before I knew this was a 'thing' I rang them quite concerned as wondered if someone was using my address. They man in the phone admitted they didn't believe that at all and didn't know why the letter said that.
I only knew because good old MN informed me they write that on them all!

If bills are in your name and you pay them from your account that's fine. Your bank statements will show the money going in and out.
Do you pay the mortgage? How is the mortgage paid? If he pays it that's fine the issue may occur if he transfers money into your account towards it.

The onus is for them to prove another adult lives there. They can't do that as long as you can prove you pay everything. It's not up to you to prove where he's living and what bills he's paying.

Zoflorabore Sun 12-Feb-17 08:59:46

Try not to worry op, many scary stories about this but there are also lots of people who have cooperated just like you and it is resolved pretty quickly.
When sending off your documents ( I would do them recorded by the way ) I would write a letter explaining what you have told us here.
If your ex is paying for mortgage then it's expected that he has links with you but that is to keep a roof over his children's heads.

Incidentally, where does he live?
I don't think it's right that he can come and go as he pleases as he has a key, have you addressed this with him?
Lastly, does he pay maintenance or is the mortgage in lieu of it?

The best thing to do is comply,send as much proof as possible, write a letter and hopefully that will be enough.
I'm not sure they stop your money whilst investigating but would be prepared for that to happen and if it does then you will get it backdated.

Afreshstartplease Sun 12-Feb-17 09:03:48

Op I went through similar a few years back and it worked out OK

Have you been allocated a case person? I would phone them and explain your situation.

frazzled3ds Sun 12-Feb-17 09:08:36

I had a similar situation when I separated from my now ExH - he also took forever to update bank accounts and the electoral roll with his change of address, but we got there in the end! If there's some way of providing proof he's living with his mum or some address evidence that may help, but don't panic, you'll get it sorted out and tax credits will be fine. Don't be surprised though if you get another 'prove your income and childcare costs' letter on the next round - I did, and had to send another years worth of bank statements and childcare invoices off..... mighty tedious!!

Good luck sorting it all, it will be fine!

HeidiSpeidi Sun 12-Feb-17 09:17:13

You will be fine OP, I work for HMRC although not in compliance. They are aware that there is rarely a clean financial break.
Collate all of your evidence(as much as possible) and write a covering note to say "ex pays mortgage, I pay x,y,z. He may stay at x or y address but you aren't sure."

Give dates of separation of explain he collects the children one day per week.

Make sure you get it in on time and I'm sure all will be ok

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 09:23:57

The letter doesn't mention concentrix just hmrc.. My ex pays the mortgage from his bank account.. He pays the mortgage in lieu of child maintenance.. I have got all paperwork for bills now that match up with my direct debits.. This is a total nightmare gathering all this paperwork.. Was in bank yesterday for ages getting all the pages printed off.. I thought hmrc had the powers to do this.. Be much easier if they did as causes so much stress to innocent people.. I have given ex all his paperwork now so hopefully he will change his address.. I know he won't tell me tho where he's changing it too... I'm just so worried that payments will stop as I so much in debt.. Gone over limit on credit card and just in the process of doing a debt management plan.. If payments do stop think I will have to look into divorce again to prove that I am single.. As anybody else had to do this..

EnormousTiger Sun 12-Feb-17 10:06:52

HMRC have taken back the contract I think from concentrix. HMRC do deal with it better than concentrix so that is good thing.

HMRC have access to details of how much bank interest in paid from a bank account on their big system but I don't think they actually without a court order or in a special case can have the bank send them statements as that is private information to you.

Totally separately from all this by the way do sort out a final court consent order on the divorce as at present you and your ex own a house, you are married and he pays the mortgage so any increase in house value remains your joint asset - both of you whereas if he paid child maintenance only and the house were in your name any increase in its value is solely yours. You need a court sealed consent order giving you both a clean break on the mortgage and then mortgage transfer to your sole name and property transfer done by a property solicitor into your sole name to make all this clearer for the future otherwise in 10 yars' time if the house doubles in value your ex might well get all that increase. Altghough you may not be able to buy him out his half of the house at present or even later so dealing with it all now may not be an option I suppose. Actually as you are so in debt may be there is not even any equity in the house I suppose.

ladylambkin Sun 12-Feb-17 10:12:52

Op if he won't change his address and mail keeps coming to yours then don't pass it onto him..mark on the envelope not known at this address and it will be returned to the sender who will remove your address.

You seem to have everything gathered together to send to them so I would try not to worry about it. I appreciate this is easier said than done though

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 10:28:44

If I mark his post not at this address then I think he will still be registered at my address?? Not sure how it works.. I telephoned the electoral register last week and I did actually delete him from my address in 2012 so why can't hmrc see that.. Also and what if I can't prove where he is living.. He is being total secretive.. I don't believe anything that comes out of ex's mouth.. He bought himself a motorbike back in October and put it on my address.. What a cheek.. I don't think hmrc will believe me tho when I tell them that I don't know where he is living.. Oh by the way hmrc already cocked up on the letter tho by asking for bills etc from October 2017-December 2017. I have tried to ring them several times about this but can never get an answer.. So I'm guessing they mean October 2016-December 2016.. I have printed off bank statements tho from September 2016 up until yesterday.. And they will see that I pay all the bills etc.. Hopefully this will be enough.. But I have read some other people's stories n tax credits been stopped for as long as 2 years..

Akire Sun 12-Feb-17 10:33:46

Well he has to be staying somewhere unless he
Staying at his mum will effect his benefits then he needs a mate or someone who will let him use their address. It's been over 4y not 4 weeks!

ladylambkin Sun 12-Feb-17 10:35:35

Yeah the date is probably a typo

At work anything sent back DLO (ie no longer at this address) makes us remove the address from our system which in turn updates onto credit reference agency too.

HMRC may check credit reference agencies and would see any new accounts being opened by him at your address..such like the motorbike.

Try not to worry though...I would mention it to him that him refusing to not use your address is causing you issues and if tax credits are stopped he will need to support you by paying child maintenance as well as the mortgage.

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 10:46:12

Ex bought the motorbike with cash but also insured it on my address.. I know he tried to get a loan from bank few weeks ago so I'm thinking is that why I've got this letter from hmrc as his bank is still registered to my address.. Well I think he has changed bank details now as my son said that he went to the bank with daddy..

ladylambkin Sun 12-Feb-17 10:47:29

Aw I hope you get it sorted out soon flowers

Ballerina123 Sun 12-Feb-17 10:59:52

Yes so do I as feel sick about this as I know he has no fixed address at mo.. Hopefully once I send all my paperwork in they won't ask about ex..

EnormousTiger Fri 07-Apr-17 08:41:46

In case of interest re Concentrix:
"HMRC criticised over ‘catastrophic’ Concentrix contract
The public accounts committee (PAC) has branded HMRC’s contract with outsourcer Concentrix for checking tax credit claims as ‘a catastrophic failure’, which delivered just £193m of savings compared to an estimated £1bn and resulted in ‘appalling’ customer service

PAC said HMRC lacked the commercial capability to design the contract effectively. Despite Concentrix missing its performance targets for customer service from the start in 2015, HMRC renegotiated the contract in October 2015 to try and make it more commercially viable for Concentrix. It almost trebled the level of commission paid to Concentrix from 3.9% to 11%, while also introducing different performance measures for customer service.

HMRC acknowledges that its commercial function did not have the required skills and resources and says that it is revamping its commercial and contract division.

HMRC originally estimated that the contract would deliver £1bn of savings, but estimated savings at November 2016 were £193m. HMRC told PAC that the investment of £32.5m for a saving of £193m represented a reasonable rate of return.

The report states: ‘Nevertheless, HMRC told us that it does not intend to involve the private sector to conduct tax credits compliance checks in the future. Concentrix said that HMRC’s original assumptions about the number of available tax credits cases for review were incorrect, with Concentrix making a loss of £20.5m from the contract.

‘HMRC does not yet know whether it can make more savings from using its own resources instead. It now has further capacity to conduct tax credits compliance checks after 250 Concentrix staff were transferred to HMRC as part of ending the contract.’

The committee’s report says the problems which occurred during the 2016 tax credit renewals process were ‘entirely predictable’, and caused severe hardship and distress for claimants.

PAC said HMRC and Concentrix are still blaming each other, with the supplier claiming it expected HMRC to stagger the 2016 terminations over several weeks, as it had done in 2015. HMRC instead terminated all 45,000 awards in one week, but later went on to reinstate some 30,000 awards to which people had been entitled.

As a result, Concentrix was overwhelmed by the number of claimants trying to get in touch to find out what had happened to their awards; in August 2016 it answered just 35% of calls in five minutes against a target of 90%.

HMRC claims that staggering the terminations would only have made a marginal difference and it would have been prepared to do so if Concentrix had only asked. The PAC report notes that ‘communication between the parties had clearly broken down’, and says HMRC has recognised that there are lessons to learn concerning the thorough testing of contingency arrangements and escalating issues to senior decision-makers more quickly.

Meg Hillier, PAC chair, said: ‘Having taken the work contracted to Concentrix in-house, it is critical that HMRC now delivers for tax credit claimants.

HMRC is undergoing significant change and, as our committee has previously documented, in recent years experienced a disastrous decline in its own customer service.

‘This must not be repeated as HMRC faces the challenge of providing an improved and consistent service for people claiming tax credits.

‘It must also put right the damage done. That means fully reinstating the awards of all claimants who wrongly lost their tax credits and ensuring they are properly compensated for any impact on their entitlement to other benefits.’

Hillier also said HMRC was ‘woefully ill-equipped’ to design the Concentrix contract, with too little importance given to customer service, and the use of an ‘inappropriate’ payment-by-results model.

An HMRC spokesperson said: ’HMRC is absolutely committed to paying tax credits claimants all the money to which they are entitled, efficiently and on time and we have apologised for the failings that occurred during the contract.

‘HMRC terminated the contract with Concentrix when it became clear that it was not delivering the quality of service we expect for our customers. Those who had their payments stopped incorrectly are now back in payment.

‘It is important to make checks on tax credits claims to ensure the right people are receiving the money to which they are entitled under the law, and this work will now be done by HMRC. HMRC will not be entering into external contracts for this work in future.’

PAC’s report on HMRC’s contract with Concentrix is here -

Mumandfamily18 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:20:05

Hi I’m having the same issue 😢😢 what was your outcome as I’m sick with worry! X

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